Geno’s Steaks

Even though the primary purpose of my recent trip to Philly was to see the King Tut exhibit, a secondary objective was to perform a taste test between the two most famous cheesesteak establishments in Philly, Pat’s and Geno’s.

To perform this test, we decided to get “one wit” from each, cut them in half, and then attack each half. For those who don’t know, “one wit” is your standard Philly Cheesesteak with steak, Cheez Whiz, and fried onions.

After eating both halves, I thought they were both very tasty and enjoyable, but I think that Pat’s wins out in the test, not for taste, but for construction. Geno’s steaks are much larger and thicker, and there’s a chance that with one bite, you could potentially pull out a large chunk of steak, thereby rendering the sandwich useless. While that did not happen to me, each bite was taken with a bit of trepidation to avoid that situation.  Pat’s was enjoyed a bit more because I could just eat without worrying.

This is by no means my final decision, and I will perform this taste test again the next chance I get. I also plan on trying Jim’s at some point because it was recommended by a Philly native.

Didn’t get to try water ice and a pretzel, but will also try them during a future trip.

After seeing the phobias on this list of phobias, I noticed that my biggest fear was not on there. So, to unite and give identity to all those people out there like me, I propose the following new phobia:

Envelopophobia: Fear of getting a paper cut on your tongue from licking an envelope.

I personally can not lick an envelope from right to left, or vice versa, to seal it. I employ a method whereby I lick from the bottom of the glue strip to the top, then move to the next part of the glue strip, in tongue-width increments, rapidly.

I hope by bringing this fear to light, I will empower those that are with me to stand up and not feel put-down by society simply because we lick an envelope differently.

On Friday I went to Philadelphia and saw the King Tut exhibit at the Franklin Institute Science Museum.

I thought that the exhibit was put together very nicely, especially how it started out with generic pharaonic Egyption objects and moved to his kingdom and then into his burial chamber. The museum also did a good job spacing objects apart and mounting them in ways to provide 360 degree access. They also wrote the object’s description high at the top of display cases, on all sides, so that viewers could read about the object far away, and then view the actual object up close in the limited amount of time they got to stand next to it. I also think they did a good job of putting the objects at a height that most people could enjoy, and that’s coming from someone who’s on the tall side of life. I also enjoyed how they were able to separate the exhibit from the rest of the museum, which, overrun with kids, was quite noisy, and how the lighting and music complemented the objects on display. They also did a good job providing context for each room for those who might not be familiar with the general history of pharaonic Egypt, the story of King Tut, or the story of how his tomb was found.

It was quite fascinating to be standing inches away from an object that is 3,200 years old and might have been worn or held by King Tut himself. The details on each objects were quite exquisite. In detailing, there wasn’t much difference between an object in that room and one that would be made today. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it for anyone remotely interested in Egyptian history.

My favorite part of the exhibit was not related to the objects, but rather one of the viewers. A mother with a youngish child mentioned to her that there were two more rooms to the exhibit and then asked the kid if she understood that. The kid said, “Yeah, we’re going to go into another room, then into another.” The mother asked the kid where they were going after the second room, and I was expecting something like “the gift shop” or “home”, but when the kid said, “Pizza Hut!”, I had to chuckle.

I found something the other day that’s a little annoying about the Mac. Since I only reboot once in a great while, usually when a security update forces me to, which isn’t very often, upon each reboot I am usually confronted by a lot of my software notifying me that updates are available, which causes me to spend the next little while downloading and installing said updates.

I’ve gone weeks, even months between reboots and also between application launches, and am annoyed when some applications have gone through five or more updates, mostly bug related updates, that I was not aware of.

This is not a problem with the Mac, per se, but rather with some of the automatic software checking libraries that are used. In fact, I blame lazy developers. There is a free, open source, library out there called Sparkle that a developer can add to their application to accomplish update checking, and many do. From a quick scan of the documentation, I gleamed that, by default, Sparkle checks for updates on application launch. Upon further quick glances, I further gleamed that it seems to be relatively easy for a developer to implement periodic checks, and that said periodic checks could be user configurable. The fact that some developers do not do this is just lazy.

I’ve had HDTV for about a year now and can say that it is one of the most amazing products technology has brought us, but also one of the most frustrating.

It’s true that an HD picture is great, and at times, breathtaking, but this is also the most frustrating part.  In a nutshell…once you see a true HD program, you never want to watch anything in standard definition again.  Ever.

Discovery HD Theater (DHDT) is a great example of what is great about HDTV and what is frustrating about it.  Basically it has it’s own programming and is not just an HD broadcast of what’s on standard definition Discovery Channel, unlike most HD channels.  I love the Discovery Channel and many programs on it, and would love to see some of them in HD, but for some reason, not a lot of their shows are shot in HD, or if they are, aren’t shown on DHDT. 

Planet Earth is a special series that is broadcast on both Discovery and DHDT and it’s fantastic.  In the most recent episode they showed a great series of shots of angel falls, and they were absolutely breathtaking in HD.

Discovery Channel shows “Dirty Jobs” and “Deadliest Catch” should be broadcast in HD if they can be.  “American Chopper” is broadcast in HD…does it need to be?  The main difference between the shows is that “American Chopper” is mostly shot in a controlled environment whereas the other two are shot in various and, in the case of “Deadliest Catch”, harsh environments and it might not be possible to shoot in HD all the time.

I went to Chicago on Tuesday, and as I was sitting at the gate waiting for my plane to board, I noticed something that is just plain annoying. I looked out the window and couldn’t help noticing that the jetway was positioned almost right up against the window. On it, in large letters, was the logo for HSBC (sorry for the crappy cell phone photo, but I didn’t have a real camera on me at the time).

Advertising in the weirdest places

Where does the line get drawn on advertising? Are we going to have street lamps festooned with advertisements? What about mailboxes? Maybe crosswalks should have some sort of advertising on them instead of just silly white lines?

What I find interesting is that HSBC would choose that place to advertise. Obviously, it’s a good place because people are stuck sitting in the gate area and will look out the window and see their name, but it really doesn’t make sense to advertise a banking company at that point because people are about to go into a closed environment for hours and I don’t think that banking will be on most people’s minds during that time. I would think something more travel related would be appropriate, but then again, I’m not in advertising so I may not understand the subtle intricacies of how this is a brilliant place for HSBC to advertise.

Eggs come with advertising etched on them, why shouldn’t everything? (in case you couldn’t tell, I’m being sarcastic)

That’s especially true for banks and credit card companies that I’m a customer of.

In today’s mail, I found not one, but two offers from a credit card company and a bank that I’m already a customer of.  These offers were not for additional services from the same institution, but for the very services that I already have with them.  Even more disturbing is that both of tonight’s offers were addressed to me using my formal name, the same name that I use with their institutions.

How difficult is it for them to do a simple database query that compares whatever list they use for unsolicited offers to their existing customer list?  If the names match, and the addresses match, don’t send it.  I’m sure it would save them money.  I wonder why they don’t do it?

After enduring the confusement that occurred when trying to order a Wii from Kmart, I was finally able to get one without too much effort.

In a nutshell, after finding myself awake at 8:00 a.m. this morning, I noticed that Toys “R” Us was advertising Wiis in their Sunday circulars, which means that they should have some in stock.  I promptly got myself dressed and headed over to the Toys “R” Us store in Times Square.

I had to stand on line for about one and a half hours, but I got a Wii.  After getting home and hooking it up, I immediately played a game of bowling and got a 139.